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Na Mo'olelo Lomilomi,
The Traditions of Hawaiian Massage and Healing

edited with an introduction
by R. Makana Risser Chai

Barbara Helynn's recommendation:

cover of Na Mo'olelo Lomilomi by Chai

Na Mo’olelo Lomilomi, The Traditions of Hawaiian Massage and Healing links us – the readers - with the past by sharing the words and voices of special indigenous Hawaiian people who have traveled  this healing path before us and  who helped make lomilomi what it is today. 

I treasure this book for creating a bridge between me and my current lomilomi colleagues in our present time with people who practiced lomilomi in the past and who have already “walked the rainbow.” The wealth of historical information in this book, and especially the felt presence of the elders via their words, is precious indeed!

With humility which I appreciate, Makana Risser Chai identifies herself as the editor of this lomilomi reference book, rather than as its author.  As a loving contribution to our global lomilomi community, Makana researched and sifted through about 200 sources and then consolidated and organized in this book the numerous but mostly very brief quotes she found.  Makana then added extensive commentary to add context and continuity to the compiled quotes and wrote an expansive introduction.   

Na Mo'olelo Lomilomi is not a lomilomi training manual.  In the words of Kumu Lomi Brenda Mohalapua Ignacio, “This book serves our local teachers rather than seeks commercialization.”  Yeah!! 

The sources Makana drew from include books, articles and oral histories found in Hawaiian language newspapers and libraries and archives of the Bishop Museum, the University of Hawaii, the Hawaii State government, and Hawaii medical associations.  Each source contained only scraps and tidbits of information, making this book a labor of love.  (To the best of my knowledge, no extensive, single source, written documentation of lomilomi from the past exists.)

The topics covered in this book include:

  • Pule, Ho’oponopono, ‘Ai & Pani – Prayer, Reconciliation, food & Closure
  • Ke Kanaka Lomi – The Massage Therapist
  • Na kauka Lomilomi a ha’iha’I Iwi – doctors of Osteopathy & Chiropractic
  • Haha, Hahano, & ‘O’O – The Arts of Diagnosing & Cleansing
  • Wai Ola – Water and Heat Therapies
  • Lomilomi ‘Ohana – Family Practice
  • Legal History of Lomilomi

Makana’s work opens the way for us her readers to integrate the voices of the past into our understanding and our practice of lomilomi.  I highly recommend Na Mo’olelo Lomilomi for serious students of lomilomi and Hawaiian culture.

Thank you Makana for the gift that you are, and for the gift that Na Mo’olelo Lomilomi is to our shared lomilomi community.

Aloha pumehana,

Barbara Helynn  

Click here to go to Makana Risser Chai's website.

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